NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street got a taste of California pizza on Wednesday and seemed to like it.

Shares in Los Angeles-based California Pizza Kitchen Inc. were priced at $15 a share late Tuesday, at the top of the $13 to $15 range expected by brokers.

The company's initial public offering of 5.3 million shares opened on the Nasdaq Stock Market at $20. In early afternoon, shares were changing hands at $20.688.

The shares are trading under the symbol CPKI.

Fred Hipp, president and chief executive officer, said the company was pleased with market interest in its shares. He said that despite the recent volatility on Nasdaq stocks, ``We felt fundamentally confident because our company earnings are in great shape, sales performance is in great shape.''

California Pizza, which opened its first restaurant in Beverly Hills in the mid-1980s, now has restaurants in 26 states and three foreign countries. Some are franchise operations.

Last year, the company reported sales of $179.2 million and profits of $5.4 million.